By Joe Bachman
26 years is a long time to build a legacy — a legacy in which one superintendent will leave behind at the end of this school year.
At the end of the 2016-17 school year, Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Colleen Dickmann will be retiring from the school district. After seven years in the position, Dickmann will be taking a step back to spend more time with her family, as well as to pursue other interests and career goals.
However, when speaking of goals, Dickmann feels much has been accomplished during her tenure.
“Over the past seven years, there have been numerous efforts towards achieving the goals of the district,” said Dickmann. “‘Response to Intervention’ has been implemented, curricular areas have been newly mapped, report cards have been reviewed and advised at the elementary level, and there is an ongoing study involving the assessment of students.”
Dickmann has been involved with the lives of youths for 26 years, now. She began her career as an Assistant Principal for West Junior High, and after two years, became the Mead Elementary School Principal, a position she held for nine years. After serving as Director of Human Resources for four years, Dickmann jumped back into teaching at East Junior High until taking the position she holds now.
While her experience will be missed, the future of Wisconsin Rapids schools looks to be spot-on. Dickmann has worked with others to secure the implementation of several initiatives from the state, which include programs such as Educator Effectiveness and Academic Career Planning, a program which helps develop skill-sets of students outside of the classroom for post-secondary success. Dickmann also put a focus on communicating to parents through social media on various topics, from alert systems, safety plans, and other security measures that are now in place.
“We are routinely updating technology,” said Dickmann. “A continuous review of our facilities and potential restructuring options has been occurring since I began this position, and through responsible fiscal management, our district is poised to embark on restructuring and moving the ninth grade to Lincoln, with other options being considered for eight grade.”
Dickmann leaves behind a strong school system, but takes with her fond memories. Memories of interacting with students on many levels, through graduation, athletics, plays, and events. According to Dickmann, these events provide a picture of students outside of the classroom.
“It shines a light on a different kind of talent — being with students is so uplifting,” said Dickmann. “I am also inspired by the very giving and caring nature of our staff members when I see the efforts they go through to make our students’ school experience as positive as possible.”
Dickmann would like her legacy to be that of sincerity, honesty, and integrity, and she leaves Wisconsin Rapids in the same place — with students as the most important part of the job.
“I have always made decisions with students at the forefront, while at the same time trying to care for our employees.”